On this page, we celebrate the lives of members who have recently died.
It was, then, Stella’s love of music and of people which illuminated the lives of those with whom she came into contact. Indeed, a number of us in the U3A Recorder Group joined because of Stella’s personal encouragement, and, until recently, we used to meet in her front room, enjoying the hospitality and warmth of welcome (and, it must be said, of temperature!) which made those sessions so friendly, so engaging and humane, and which somehow welded us more closely together as a little musical community. Despite the wide disparity of the personalities, backgrounds and musical experience within the group, we have happily sustained a mutually supportive and collaborative ethos which stems from the unspoken, unifying and generous-spirited influence of Stella’s presence, and her instinct for inclusivity.
Stella on her 90th Birthday
Members of the U3A Recorder Group have, of course, shared stories about Stella recently, all emphasising her independent spirit, her determination to live her life to the full after the tragedy of the death of her husband of 60-odd years, her kindness (and her problems replacing printer cartridges using a chisel!). Corrie Weaver, who is now the longest-serving member of the group, has told us about the early days of the Recorder Group, describing very movingly Stella’s unwavering friendship and generosity to all over the decades, and her commitment to communal music-making, though it’s fair to add that she had, in addition to her gentleness and compassion, very determined, clear-sighted, deeply-held and fiercely independent political (with both small and large p) views, and she would wholeheartedly enter any discussion of matters of social, cultural or philosophical issues. Stella remained a wide and critical reader all her life, and loved to exchange opinions on what she read. Trained as a teacher, she maintained a lifelong belief in the importance of education, choosing to work with disadvantaged children in the poorest areas of London, which is why, in consultation with Brian, her son, we donated her collection of recorders to a local charity dedicated to bringing music education to disadvantaged children. She would certainly have approved.
Stella had a humanity and compassion which were rooted in her childhood experience of living in a marginalised yet warm and tight-knit refugee community of Jewish people in London during the uncertain and troubled years before and during the Second World War. It is that warmth, that humanity and that compassion which we will most miss.
P S If you have not had the pleasure of knowing Stella – or even if you have - there is a wonderful video from about 10 years ago of her talking about her life, about music and about her childhood. This is the link:
Written by Martin Gordon.